Real Name: James Edgehill Burnside
Aliases: Al Wilson
Wanted For: Murder, Attempted Murder
Missing Since: February 17, 1988
Details: Jim Burnside is wanted for the murder of his estranged wife, Annette, and the attempted one of one of her coworkers on February 17, 1988, in Manatee County, Florida. Annette had dropped out of high school and was working as a cashier at a grocery store when she met Jim, who was the butcher there. They started out as friends, but one day he asked her out on a date, even though there was a twenty-eight year age gap. From the beginning, her parents did not like him, but they accepted the relationship because they wanted her to be happy.
In 1981, Annette and Jim were married; she was just eighteen, and he was forty-six. Within weeks of the marriage, he began drinking. She became frightened of him because he was jealous and verbally abusive. The abuse eventually turned physical; one year after they were married, she took refuge at a battered women's shelter. She called him from there; he told her that he would kill her family if she did not return. Against her parents' wishes, she returned to him. They had two daughters within the next few years, and it appeared that the relationship was improving. When Jim lost his job, he let Annette get one as a receptionist for a car dealership.
Dave, one of Annette's coworkers, helped her buy her own car. Jim, however, felt that she was getting too much freedom, so he decided to damage it. He then threatened to kill her if she ever left him; he even threatened to kill their daughters as well. The next day, while he was at work, she called the police, asking them to escort her and their daughters out of the house. By the time he came home, she was on a plane to Ohio to leave their daughters with relatives. Five days later, she secretly returned home so she could continue to work.
Unfortunately, Jim eventually discovered that Annette was back in town. He began spying on her; he also called her parents, threatening to kill her. They reported the incidents to the police, but they said that nothing could be done unless she was actually harmed.
On February 17, 1988, three days before Annette was scheduled to testify in court regarding the divorce, she came to work as usual. At around 12pm, she met Dave in his car for lunch. Then she noticed that Jim was approaching. He bashed the passenger side window in with his shotgun. Dave got out to confront him, but he shot him in the stomach. Annette tried to flee, but tragically was unsuccessful. Jim caught up with her and stabbed her fifteen times with a butcher knife. Dave was rushed to the hospital and survived.
Jim was able to escape in broad daylight. He bought several items from a sporting goods store, then withdrew a large amount of money. Two and a half years later, a groundskeeper approached a stranger at Annette's grave, who fled the scene. The groundskeeper identified the stranger as Jim. He has not been seen since.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the October 23, 1991 episode. It was also profiled on America’s Most Wanted.
Results: Captured. On the night of the broadcast, two viewers contacted the telecenter to report that Jim was living in Shelby County, Alabama, under the assumed name Al Wilson. He was working at a flea market at the time. The next morning, federal authorities arrived there. He noticed them and ran to his pickup truck. He pulled out a gun and began firing at them. They fired back and struck him twice. He was arrested and sent to a nearby hospital.
Apparently, he had seen the broadcast as he told his coworkers the day he was arrested that he anticipated having problems that day. He was convicted of assaulting a federal officer and then returned to Florida. He pleaded no contest to Annette's murder and the attempted one of Dave. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He died there on November 27, 2015.
- James Burnside Convicted of Federal Gun Charges
- Article on Jim Burnside and "Dave"
- Annette Burnside at Find a Grave